Stop the Ride! I want to get off!
At various End of Year celebrations this week I’ve heard a number of students reflect on 2021 being like riding on a Roller Coaster. They recognised that there have been some ups and downs, highs and lows, and many twists and turns along the way. I quite like their analogy.
I’m not a fan, at all, of fast-moving rides with big drops. I’d happily hold the bags and jackets and valuables while others experience the stomach-churning thrills of an amusement park.
While this last year has had some long, uphill climbs and some rapid descents that caused us to hold our breath, there are some parts of the ride I’ve appreciated.
I’m pleased that I wasn’t on the ride alone. I’ve been aware of others experiencing the same swoosh and arghhh and eeeeek right next to me, or just behind or in front. It has helped me to remember that any fear or uncertainty that I’ve experienced isn’t unique to me. Others have also been onboard and we’ve been able to offer a reassuring glance or a hand to hold on the way down the fastest drops.
During some of the scariest moments, when the ride seemed to turn upside down and threaten to throw us all out, I felt secure knowing the safety bars were holding me in. We have structures and foundations in our society, and certainly in our school, that have helped hold us firm.
It took some significant effort and intentionality, but I’ve found that the fear I experience during the ride becomes a little more bearable each time. While I don’t seek our fast scary thrill rides, I have learned that conquering fear gets easier with repetition. We’ve been thrust into relative uncertainty numerous times now and I think we’re adapting more quickly.
As we enter into the festive season around the celebration of Christmas, it almost feels like we could be getting off one ride and jumping straight onto the next. Beware.
Remember, we have some control over how quickly we strap ourselves in to the next ride. Take a breath. Maybe stretch your legs for a while and soak in some of the beauty around the park. Take a moment to re-live some of the twists and turns you’ve survived and recognise that you’re better for the experience.
At some amusement parks, they end the day’s rides and attractions with a wonderful display of fireworks. As we draw to the end of this year we recall another wonderful celebration. The birth of Christ was welcomed in with far more than an impressive fireworks display. There was a choir of angels that filled the night sky; Glory to the newborn King! This was (and is) Good News for all.
May you embrace the opportunity to step off the Roller Coaster this Christmas. And when the time comes to climb back on and pull down the safety harness again, know that you are not alone.
Happy Christmas from our family to yours,